6,000 visa applications from professionals including scientists, IT specialists and doctors were refused

Theresa May’s ‘arbitrary’ visa scheme denies entry to thousands of foreign doctors, engineers and scientists with UK job offers.

Thousands of skilled foreign workers with job offers in the UK were denied entry due to Theresa May’s “arbitrary” visa scheme, it has been revealed.

More than 6,000 visa applications from professionals including scientists, IT specialists and doctors were refused over a period of just four months between December and March.

The refusals were the result of an annual limit of 20,700 so-called Tier 2 visas introduced in 2011 while Ms May was home secretary.

It is understood the limit had been breached only once before, in 2015, when 66 engineering roles were turned down.

The Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE), which obtained the figures from a Freedom of Information request to the Home Office, said the “arbitrary” cap was leaving thousands of vital roles unfilled and damaging productivity, public services, business confidence and the UK’s international reputation.

The figures emerged as the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee announced plans to develop its own proposals for new immigration rules for scientists after Brexit.

Among the 6,080 refusals over the four-month period, 1,518 related to doctor posts and 361 to other healthcare professional roles, 1,226 to jobs in IT and technology, 392 engineering roles, 197 teachers, 1,814 professional services and 572 to other professions.

British Medical Association council chair Chaand Nagpaul said: “At a time when the NHS is under enormous strain and struggling to fill positions, the current visa restrictions and arbitrary caps for non-EU workers entering the UK are inexplicable and threatening patient care and safety.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “The government fully recognises the contribution that international professionals make to the UK. However, it is important that our immigration system works in the national interest, ensuring that employers look first to the UK resident labour market before recruiting from overseas.

“When demand exceeds the monthly available allocation of Tier 2 (general) places, priority is given to applicants filling a shortage of PhD-level occupations. No occupation on the Shortage Occupation List has been refused a place.”

You can read the full article by Tom Embury-Dennis on INDEPENDENT.

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